Over the weekend, I volunteered at WOW, and I had a WOW of a time! When I signed up for volunteering, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I knew I wanted to go, and volunteering would be a cheep way to see all the fantastic talks, but I didn’t expect to gain skills or enjoy it as much as I did. I really enjoyed helping the speakers and participants find their way around and making sure people were looked after. Maybe I should look further into an events management career?
The themes which bubbled out of the conference really surprised me. I expected to talk about work and children, but surprisingly and refreshingly, this wasn’t the core of the event. The biggest surprise was Stir the Soul, where women of numerous faiths spoke about how they practice their religion and what it means to do this as women. Everyone in the room wanted time to run slower so we could all keep discussing keeping the faith while railing against stereotypes.
By the end of the weekend, we were talking not only about how poorly women are treated in our culture, but I could actually, I could see the attendees, all having lightbulb moments and thinking about all the constructive activities they could engage in once they got home. I could almost see the attendees writing letters to their MPs, asking them to address the pay gap, which is currently up 19%, and making sure we do something about domestic violence, since 43% of police call outs are related to domestic violence.
For me, the weekend fell on the winter solstice, or the longest night of the year. I try to observe it by lighting a fire and eating a meal with loved ones. I was too busy to really celebrate it as a festival or holy-day, however on the last day of WOW, I dropped my friend home and we arrived at her place just as the sun was setting, which meant it was time to break fast for Ramadan. It was my first time participating in such a ritual, and I felt privileged to be able to break fast with my friend and her family. Since I couldn’t celebrate the solstice like I normally would, this was the next best thing.
I’ve got my fingers, toes and eyes crossed, hoping that WOW will be back to BNE in the very near future.